What would you do with an extra $500? Kickstart your emergency fund? Finish paying off one of your credit cards? Or would you need the money to pay your bills?
According to the Federal Reserve, 44 percent of American adults would have difficulties handling an unexpected expense of $400. I remember the days when I looked ahead to the end of the month with disappointment, knowing that my money would run out before I got there. To stave off some of those feelings of fear, I began looking for ways to make money.
Quick ways to make money in 30 days
When facing a difficult financial situation, you might have a bit of time to make ends meet. If you have 30 days to get back into good standing — or even if you’re just looking for a regular way to make an extra $500 each month to meet your goals faster — there’s good news.
The following ideas can be quick ways to make money. Do two or three items on this list, and you could earn $500 by the end of the month.
Start by selling something
Some of the best quick ways to make money involve selling something you have. Yes, you can try eBay or Craigslist, but those aren’t your only options. In fact, for certain types of items, it can help to start with a niche website or store to sell your goods. Unless you have a lot to sell, you probably won’t make the $500 all at once, but at least you’ll be on your way.
1. Clothing consignment shops
By the time my son was four months old, he had a whole pile of onesies, cute outfits, and socks that didn’t fit him anymore. And they were barely worn! I brought everything into a local consignment shop that specialized in children’s clothing and walked out with $300.
Since that time, I’ve used other consignment shops for my own clothes. My weight has fluctuated quite a bit in recent years, and consignment shops have been helpful for allowing me to offset some of my closet-related costs.
Online websites such as Swap.com and ThredUp offer you the chance to send in your clothing and receive funds by PayPal. ThredUp specializes in like-new, brand-name clothing, though, so you’ll have to meet those exacting standards.
2. Use Facebook to sell furniture
Have furniture you don’t use anymore? If it’s in good condition, take a picture of it and upload it to Facebook. There are local groups and a marketplace that you can use to connect with buyers on Facebook. I used Facebook to sell a fish tank and a big round rattan chair. I came away with a cool $250 from those two sales — and it took less than four days to unload the items.
If you consistently sell larger items on Facebook, you could end up with $500 by the end of the month without too much trouble.
If you have electronics that aren’t being used, you can sell them to Gazelle and get paid via PayPal. Gazelle also has kiosks that allow you to deposit your items and receive instant cash, although you won’t get as much money as you would going through the website.
I was able to sell my son’s old Kindle Fire and a Nintendo DS through an online website specializing in electronics and ended up with almost $200. Sites such as decluttr and uSell also accept many electronics.
Similarly, my son just took in a few of his old video games and received more than $100 from GameStop.
4. Unwanted gift cards
We all get gifts we don’t want. If you have gift cards, you can sell them for as much as 80 or 90 percent of face value at a site such as Gift Card Granny. I’ve used this website myself to unload gift cards I knew I wouldn’t use.
Depending on the site you use, you might have to mail the physical card in before getting paid. In other cases, you might be able to provide the electronic information for the card. Double-check the terms before you commit to sell.
5. Sell online for other people
Ask your friends and relatives if they have things they’d like to sell, but don’t know how (or don’t have the time). You can sell their items online for a commission of 10 to 40 percent of the sale price. Depending on the items, and how many you sell, you could turn this into a regular source of income, making up to $500 a month without the need to constantly raid your own attic.
6. Amazon Trade-In
Amazon actually has a trade-in program. You won’t get cash, but if you shop using Amazon, the Amazon gift card you receive within a couple of days could be well worth it. Go to amazon.com/tradein and look at your past shopping history to see what you have that is eligible for trade-in.
You can also scroll down to see categories and get access to more information about what’s being accepted for trade-in — just in case something you have isn’t reflected in your purchase history. Items have to be in good condition, and if Amazon doesn’t agree with your assessment, you have to pay back the money.
It’s also possible to set up an Amazon seller’s account. However, you have to go through the steps of making sure your items sell, rather than getting an immediate offer from Amazon. You might have to wait longer to get paid too. But if you can make it work, an Amazon seller’s account can provide you with a way to build a regular income stream, especially if you have stuff that isn’t eligible for trade-in.
If you have a talent for crafts, you can sell those online through Etsy. Whether you create beautiful wooden figures or crochet scarves, it’s possible to sell your items on their site. Prices for your work vary based on quality and demand, but it’s possible to make a couple hundred dollars a month (or more!) selling your wares.
Sometimes, making an extra $500 in 30 days is about taking on additional work. Here are some ideas for putting in a few more hours a week to boost your income.
8. Pick up extra shifts
You might be able to pick up extra shifts at work. When I waited tables, there were always fellow servers who wanted their shifts covered. Working a couple extra shifts a week often allowed me to walk home with $400 or more in just tips alone.
Depending on your job, you might be able to work overtime or fill in for a coworker. That’s one of the easiest ways to pad your paycheck and work up to an extra $500 for the month.
9. Part-time seasonal work
If you have time in the evening or on the weekend during certain times of the year, you can pick up part-time seasonal work. Retail stores are always looking for extra help between Thanksgiving and New Year.
You can even earn extra money as a UPS driver helper during the holiday season.
And it’s not just cold-weather jobs that can be seasonal. If you live near a national park or recreation area, you might be able to find a part-time job during the busy summer months.
Many of these jobs pay more than the federal minimum wage, but even if you’re only making $7.25 an hour, you can make $500 in a month by working a little more than 17 extra hours a week.
10. Rideshare driver
Want more flexibility with your schedule? Drive for Uber or Lyft and make money on your own time. It only takes a few days to get approved to drive, once you provide the right information to the rideshare company.
I’m signed up as a Lyft driver, and I sometimes drive on special event days. I once made $200 on a single Saturday.
With a little careful planning, you can work during the peak times, boosting your earnings and making $500 a month without too much trouble.
11. “Get paid today” jobs
If you want to start making money immediately, you might be able to find work by searching “get paid today” on a site like Indeed or SimplyHired. These jobs include tasks like passing out flyers, setting appointments, hauling away garbage, or cleaning. My own search came up with jobs paying between $15 and $25 an hour — more than enough to get to $500 a month working part-time.
12. Fiverr and other creative sites
Sell your skills. Fiverr allows you to set rates for doing voiceover work, video production, and music recording. There are tons of other creative ways to make money using Fiverr.
While I haven’t made money this way, I’ve paid for services on Fiverr. You can get more than $5 for what you do as well, depending on how involved it is. I once paid $50 for a complete video intro and outro. It looked professional and only took the person about an hour to put together.
Along those same lines, you can do graphic design work on 99designs and get paid.
13. Write quick articles
There were times early in my freelance career that I just needed something — and fast. When that was the case, I turned to Textbroker and Content Runner. I could write 500-word posts with minimal research, allowing me to complete three or four in an hour. At between $5 and $20 a post, that’s as much as $80 an hour. Plus, with these sites, you are paid relatively quickly.
14. Perform at local restaurants
If you’re musically talented, you can earn money by performing at local venues. Many of the restaurants in my town offer a complimentary meal to local musicians. Live music is a great draw, and you might receive tips from appreciative diners.
This is an especially attractive way to make money because you can enjoy yourself for an evening, and possibly walk away with $100 or more. Play on a weekend night, and you could easily make $500 a month.
On top of that, many U.S. cities have areas where musicians can play on the street — no permit required.
For a couple years, my family portraits were taken by a local woman with a photography hobby. If you have a talent for taking pictures, you can hire yourself out for weddings, family photo shoots, headshots, and more. One wedding day can be as much as $500 on its own.
On a related note, if you are good at videography, you can also shoot videos for weddings, reunions, and other occasions.
16. Audio and video editing
If your talents run to audiovisual editing, it’s possible to make money cleaning up others’ work. I hire a professional to edit my podcast episodes at $80 apiece. He makes more than $500 a month just working on my projects.
You might be able to get even more for video editing. If you know what you are doing, and you are fast at it, it’s possible to freelance for companies and individuals as a side hustle or even as a full-time job.
17. Run errands
The website TaskRabbit can help you make money by running errands for others. From helping someone move to picking up groceries to getting the dry cleaning, you can do the jobs others don’t want to do.
Become someone’s personal shopper, and you could earn money, and maybe even do what you love. I earned a little more than $100 a week in college by helping senior citizens complete their grocery shopping each week.
18. Odd jobs
It’s also possible to make $500 in 30 days by doing odd jobs. Many of these will pay you in cash. This can include putting up holiday decorations, small repairs around the house, installing TVs and other appliances, and even housecleaning or yard work.
A couple hours in the evening or a few hours on a Saturday can mean extra money over the course of a month. Create flyers, look at want ads, and let your network know that you are prepared to take on odd jobs for cash.
Many people are looking for caregivers. Maybe they need someone to act as a companion for an elderly parent during the evening. Perhaps they need a babysitter or a pet sitter. Tell friends and family, or post in local Facebook groups to find clients for these services.
Additionally, don’t forget to sign up at websites such as Care.com to find people in your area who need help with these services. You can also sign up on Rover to offer dog sitting and boarding services.
Quirky ways to make money fast
Some of the quick ways to make money are a little more random than others. You might be surprised to discover that you can add to your monthly income with the following tricks.
20. Offer event parking
Last year, when I took my son to the state fair, we didn’t try to fight with other cars for a $10 parking space. Instead, we paid $5 to park in the yard of a house three blocks away from the main entrance. That yard fit eight cars. When you consider the turnover throughout the day (we were only there for three hours), it’s not unreasonable to assume that the homeowner made close to $100 a day, which over the course of the 10-day fair would definitely top $500.
If you live close to a popular venue, whether it’s for college sports, a busy park, or a temporary event, offer parking. You might be surprised at how much you can make.
Make money by recycling various items. While paper and aluminum soda cans are common items you can recycle, it’s also possible to get money for turning in glass, compost, and tires.
Some of your best profits, though, can come from scrap metals. You can estimate prices for scrap items like brass radiators, aluminum auto wheels, and more at ScrapRegister.
When my first car completely died and wasn’t worth fixing, I sold it for scrap and parts for $350.
Check with the website Earth911 to find recycling centers near you, or run a Google search to find local collection points and scrap yards.
22. E-book publishing
You don’t need to write the great American novel to earn money as a writer. Amazon will let you publish e-books for cheap — and keep most of the royalties.
I’ve consistently made money with my own self-published book, which I sell both on my own website and on Amazon. However, I’ve also considered making more by writing and selling shorter e-books. They are easier to write, and have the potential to sell well.
If you don’t want to sell through Amazon, you can set up an e-commerce cart on your website and offer PDF downloads of your e-book for a price.
23. Paid clinical trials
It’s also possible to get paid for participating in smaller studies and questionnaires. In early 2017, I had a medical procedure performed. I agreed to participate in a survey about my procedure and received $50. Later, based on the survey, I was asked to spend 45 minutes on the phone talking about my experience. They sent me another $75.
24. Focus groups
You might be able to earn some money by participating in focus groups. I’ve made $75 for participating in a one-hour focus group with Inspired Opinions. Other focus group websites that can help you make money fast include FocusGroup.com, Respondent, and Fieldwork.
25. Donate plasma
Depending on where you live, it’s possible to get between $25 and $50 per donation. You can go twice in a one-week period. However, it will take two hours of your time, and it’s important to be in good health.
If you live in an area that pays $50 per donation, you can make about $400 a month just by donating plasma. Making up the other $100 through other means during the month is fairly simple. Some centers even offer bonuses for consecutive donations.
Just be aware that you can feel light-headed when you’re done, so you may need someone else to drive you.
26. Virtual jury
No, you aren’t actually going to render a verdict in a real case. However, when you sign up for a site such as eJury or VirtualJury.com, you can earn money by sharing your verdict. Attorneys use these websites to get a feel for how a jury might respond to a case. You can be paid via PayPal, and you could make between $5 and $10 for each verdict you submit.
27. Professional cuddler or friend
Believe it or not, some people just want some strictly platonic time with a buddy. They might want cuddling, massage, or friend date. Sign up at The Snuggle Buddies or Cuddlist. You might have to go through a certification process, but once that’s done, you can get paid for cuddling. Some websites split a pre-set cuddle fee with you, while others charge a monthly listing fee without taking a cut from your earnings.
Depending on what you are paid (which can be $40 an hour or more), and how often you cuddle, you could make $500 a month just by snuggling with others.
Plus, some people hate being alone, but they have a hard time finding someone to do things like attend weddings or go to amusement parks. You can sign up with RentAFriend and provide companionship while getting paid to have fun.
Even if you only have a spare room, you can make money on Airbnb. I have an extra room and bathroom downstairs that I can rent for about $50 a night. Of course, full occupancy all the time probably isn’t practical, but even with a few nights a month, I could make a decent amount.
Use the Eliot and Me calculator to estimate the trends for your area to charge more during peak times.
Use your phone to complete gigs for various companies with Gigwalk. Take pictures of product displays in grocery stores or menus at chain restaurants. Companies use what you send to determine whether or not their advertising is working for them. The better you are at completing gigs, the more money you make. Complete gigs (ranging from $3 to $100) right from your phone and receive the money in your PayPal account.
How much do you pay in rent? It’s probably more than $500 a month. While this isn’t a way to directly earn money, think about what you could do if you weren’t paying rent each month.
Set up as a housesitter and live in (and take care of) others’ homes while they’re away. You can score a free place to crash while the regular occupant is gone — anywhere from a month to a year or sometimes even longer. You can find a wide variety of housesitting opportunities at sites such as TrustedHousesitters and House Sitters America.
Earn extra money and end the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle
If you’re stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, an additional $500 a month can help you break out. And even if you’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck, but you wish you could save a little more or do a little more, a little extra money can go a long way toward helping you reach your goals.
This piece originally appeared on Student Loan Hero, a media brand owned by LendingTree.